The New Politics of Disablement: The Contribution of Mike Oliver

Malhotra, Ravi

Publisher:  Solidarity
Date Written:  18/03/2019
Year Published:  2019  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23586

Obituary for Mike Oliver, one of the founders of the social model of disability. Includes historical information, his legacy, and suggested reading.




Mike Oliver, Emeritus Professor of Disability Studies at the University of Greenwich in England, has died at the age of 74 after a short illness. A long time wheelchair user since the age of seventeen, a sociologist by training and author of many books including his landmark texts, Social Work with Disabled People (1983) and the Politics of Disablement (1990), and (with Colin Barnes), The New Politics of Disablement (2012). Oliver played a pioneering role in developing, with others such as Vic Finkelstein, what has come to be known as the social model of disability. The model builds from the proposition that it is structural barriers, such as a lack of wheelchair ramps or a failure to provide sign language interpreters, which impede disabled people rather than the impairments themselves. In other words, systemic barriers constitute an ableist society that disables disabled people and keeps them largely unemployed and in poverty.

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